Sunday, December 1, 2013


....for making the first annual Festival of Light & Gratitude an amazing experience. Natalie and I were blown away by the hundreds of people who came to walk the labyrinth, bring offerings for the altar, light sky lanterns and menorahs, sing, chant, and help out. Some folks took truly amazing photos of the labyrinth, which we built in a triple spiral pattern, after the farolitos (all 369 of them!) had been lit:

Photo by Carlos Justiniano. Used with his kind permission.

Photo by Carlos Justiniano. Used with his kind permission.

Photo by Carlos Justiniano. Used with his kind permission.

Photo by Kyle Hanson McKee. Used with his kind permission.

Photo by Kyle Hanson McKee. Used with his kind permission.

Photo by Kyle Hanson McKee. Used with his kind permission.

Photo by Kyle Hanson McKee. Used with his kind permission.
You know, it's funny. I've heard people talk about having "humbling" creative experiences before, but it's always been a concept I associate more with, I don't know, mountain climbing, look-how-tiny-I-am-in-the-face-of-Nature sorts of adventures -- or, um, all the times my overblown ego has been neatly deflated by the uniquely sharp humor of the universe. But humble is exactly how I felt on Friday night. Heck, I felt almost invisible. Hundreds of people came and had what they described, to me or to their friends standing next to me or online, as a beautiful, spiritual, deeply moving experience. And me? I mostly just felt bewildered. Like, wait, I built this? Me?

The truth is that I spend actually a fair amount of time thanking the universe for the really amazingly wonderful things it gives me and praying, as best I can, that I'll be able to do something to give those things out again. To become a vessel, a channel, a threshold. I really like the idea of being able to create things that act as a conduit to meaning for others. And during the festival, that's exactly how I felt. In a way, it really wasn't like I had done it at all. It felt as if something had passed through me, as if Natalie and I had dreamed something into being that took on a life so completely and abundantly its own that it seems incredible to think it was ever locked away in someone's head unmanifested. I got exactly what I asked for. I'd say that's a pretty rare and glorious experience.

And it was a bit of a spooky feeling, to be honest -- to realize that the people who had come to walk the labyrinth were feeling a deep, profound, and personal connection to something I had made, without any reference to me as the maker. It absolutely feels as if I had become, for the course of that evening, a channel through which a river flowed, hardly touching me at all, as if I was the path through which something passed on its way from the intangible to the real. This seems like a huge and cataclysmic honor. It was also - well, not what I expected. (Be careful what you wish for, the saying goes...) It was a little strange, a little bewildering, to feel it lift so lightly out of my hands into the shared sky of that night. Natalie and I kept looking at each other with a sort of delighted disbelief - neither of us seemed quite able to believe what it had become, how completely beyond us it had grown. But it was that feeling, of being almost incidental, that made me feel most strongly like it was truly successful. It took on a life of its own. Of course there's a strange sense of loss in there -- and yet, seeing what we created, I could not be more grateful for the chance to see it march off into the world without me. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

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